Etiquette-the Vaisnava ornament

July 28, 2021 in Articles by Damaghosa dasa

Antya 4.127--“The servants are always coming and going without interval. If I touch them, I shall be ruined.”
PURPORT-Herein it is very clearly indicated that priests performing Deity worship should be careful to keep themselves completely pure and not be touched by outsiders. Sanātana Gosvāmī and Haridāsa Ṭhākura, thinking themselves mlecchas and yavanas because of their past association with Mohammedans, did not enter the temple nor even travel on the path in front of the temple gate. It is customary for the priests of temples in India not even to touch outsiders nor enter the Deity room after having been touched. This is a very important item in temple worship.
Antya 4.129-130--“My dear Sanātana, although you are the deliverer of the entire universe and although even the demigods and great saints are purified by touching you, it is the characteristic of a devotee to observe and protect the Vaiṣṇava etiquette. Maintenance of the Vaiṣṇava etiquette is the ornament of a devotee.
Antya 4.131--“If one transgresses the laws of etiquette, people make fun of him, and thus he is vanquished in both this world and the next.
Antya 4.132-“By observing the etiquette, you have satisfied My mind. Who else but you will show this example?”
 
Note -at this point Sanatana goswami is in distress because of the open sores all over his body and does not want Sri Caitanya to touch and embrace him.
 
Antya 4.136-When Jagadānanda Paṇḍita and Sanātana Gosvāmī sat together and began to discuss topics about Kṛṣṇa, Sanātana Gosvāmī submitted to Jagadānanda Paṇḍita the cause of his distress.
Antya 4.140-“I came here for my benefit, but now I see that I am getting just the opposite. I do not know, nor can I ascertain, how there will be benefit for me.”
Antya 4.141–Jagadānanda Paṇḍita said, “The most suitable place for you to reside is Vṛndāvana. After seeing the Ratha-yātrā festival, you can return there.
Antya 4.144-Sanātana Gosvāmī replied, “You have given me very good advice. I shall certainly go there, for that is the place the Lord has given me for my residence.”
 
Antya 4.145–After talking in this way, Sanātana Gosvāmī and Jagadānanda Paṇḍita returned to their respective duties. The next day, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu went to see Haridāsa and Sanātana Gosvāmī.
 
Antya 4.147–Sanātana Gosvāmī offered his obeisances and daṇḍavats from a distant place, but Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu called him again and again to embrace him.
Antya 4.148--Out of fear of committing offenses, Sanātana Gosvāmī did not come forward to meet Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. The Lord, however, went forward to meet him.
Antya 4.152--“By nature I am lowborn. I am a contaminated reservoir of sinful activities. If You touch me, sir, that will be a great offense on my part.
 
Antya 4.153-“Moreover, blood is running from infected itching sores on my body, smearing Your body with moisture, but still You touch me by force.
 
Antya 4.155-“Therefore I see that I will get nothing auspicious by staying here. Kindly give me orders allowing me to return to Vṛndāvana after the Ratha-yātrā festival.
Antya 4.156-“I have consulted Jagadānanda Paṇḍita for his opinion, and he has also advised me to return to Vṛndāvana.”
 
Antya 4.157-Hearing this, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, in an angry mood, began to chastise Jagadānanda Paṇḍita.
 

Antya 4.158-Jagā [Jagadānanda Paṇḍita] is only a new boy, but he has become so proud that he thinks himself competent to advise a person like you.
 
Antya 4.159-“In affairs of spiritual advancement and even in ordinary dealings, you are on the level of his spiritual master. Yet not knowing his own value, he dares to advise you.
 
Antya 4.160-“My dear Sanātana, you are on the level of My adviser, for you are an authorized person. But Jagā wants to advise you. This is but the impudence of a naughty boy.”
 
Antya 4.166-“My dear Sanātana, please do not think that Jagadānanda is more dear to Me than you. However, I cannot tolerate transgressions of the standard etiquette.
 
Antya 4.167-“You are an experienced authority in the śāstras, whereas Jagā is just a young boy.
Antya 4.168–You have the power to convince even Me. In many places you have already convinced Me about ordinary behavior and devotional service.
 
Some Conclusions-This is a very instructive lesson for us all in regards to Vaisnava etiquette.
Srila Prabhupada introduced the principle of Arsapreyaya to us which nobody at that time really understood.
The term means spiritual impertinence or trying to surpass greater spiritual authorities with our own concocted ideas of spirituality. This episode here with Sanatana Goswami and Jagadananda pandit shows us how careful we must be on a daily basis in dealing with devotees in general and advanced devotees in particular.
 
August 5, 1976
HARI-SAURI: Sometimes there’s some discrepancy, two parties, that may both want to serve but they have different ways, different ideas how to execute the same order, so there may be some disagreement.
PRABHUPADA: Service means you must take order from the master. Otherwise, it is mental concoction. Actually the servant requests, “How can I serve you?” So when the master orders, “You serve me like this,” then you do that, that is service. And if you manufacture your service, that is not service. That is your sense gratification. Yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasadah. You have to see how he is pleased. Now if he wants a glass of water and if you bring a nice glass of milk, you can say, “Milk is better than water. You take it.” That is not service. He wants water, you give him water. Don’t manufacture better thing.
 
Letter regarding mistakes and corrections In editing
Jan 20 1972
My Dear Mandali Bhadra,
Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your letter dated December 28, 1971, and with pleasure I have noted that your translation work is going on. This I want, that you shall from now on be the Head of the translating department in German language for all ISKCON literatures. You translate yourself as it is comfortable, but all other translations in German language by other translators must be checked by you, edited, and corrected very strictly for grammar and proper use of German language. It is not our philosophy to print errors. Of course, our spiritual subject matter is transcendental and therefore it remains potent despite mistakes in grammar, spelling, etc. But this type of translation may only be allowed if there is no other way to correct it, then it is all right. But if you know the correct order, then you must make it perfect. That is our philosophy: everything perfect for Krishna.
So far your telling me that some devotees consider that because there may be some grammatical discrepancies in my Srimad-Bhagavatam, first canto, then they may also be allowed to translate with errors accepted, that is just like imitating Raslila. When you do all other things like Krishna, they you can do Raslila. So if these other writers can do like me and spread Krishna Consciousness all over the world by becoming big Vedic scholars, then they can do. If one is too big, there is no mistake. Arsapreyaya means there may be discrepancies but it is all right. Just like Shakespeare, sometimes there are odd usages of language, but he is accepted as authority. I have explained all these things in my Preface to First Canto.